Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

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Image Details

3000 x 2053 pixels
2675 KBs

Maegan Oberhardt

born 1997

Australian

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

2021

57 x 39 cms | 22 1/4 x 15 1/4 ins
Fumage & Watercolour

Our snow white and yellow noisy boys are hard to miss! Even flying high above, their ear piercing screech sounds a lot closer than it actually is. There are a few small groups of these birds that come by the house and happily investigate the ground for worms… up until I start moving towards them. For such an alert bird, they are mischievous and have a curious side to them. This intelligence seemed to show in my artwork the moment I finished his eye, keeping me company until the last feather was etched.


Living up to 100 years in captivity, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are an extremely intelligent bird that also have the ability to mimic humans. These qualities have made them one of the most popular bird species and as a result, are kept as pets across the entire world. Considered as iconic among Australia’s numerous native bird species, they have been further popularised through tourism marketing to international audiences.

However, as pets they are only two generations removed from the wild. Their instinct to fly long distances in search of food contradicts confinement. Hormones influence their instinct to reproduce resulting in jealous attacks and screaming. They have the emotional intelligence of a four year old human and easily become bored and stressed when ignored. Although many pet owners begin with the best of intentions, these large and intelligent birds are very demanding and soon find themselves condemned to an unhappy and unsuitable living condition.

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